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Infestation of cluster flies after mild winter; PESTS.

Byline: CATHAL McMAHON

THE country was infested with cluster flies this winter, it has been revealed.

The mild weather led to a 335% increase in the number of the large hairy insects, with Cork the worst hit.

However, those with a fear of mice and rats celebrated the unseasonably warm weather as the usual peak in rodent infestations never took place.

Dr Colm Moore of Rentokil said: "There was a steady increase in rodent infestations throughout the season, but the dramatic spike in infestations which occurs every year did not happen.

"This is good news in the short term only.

"As there was no long periods of cold weather we predict there may be record numbers of rodents living in the wild, ready to invade at the next cold snap or when food becomes scarce."

But while the number of mice and rats dropped this winter Rentokil noted a massive jump in the number of cluster flies.

Cluster flies are larger and hairier than the average house fly and are an olive green colour.

Infestations were up 335% last winter, with 21% of the call-outs in Cork.

Dr Moore added: "Cluster flies generally hibernate during the cold winter months, but as this winter has been any thing but typical this hasn't happened.

"The adult flies survive harsh winter temperatures using strategies, such as slowing down metabolism and respiration.

"The warmer temperatures have forced them out of their hibernation-like states in search of mates."

The infestation expert advised any home owners worried about cluster flies to keep windows and doors closed and block out the light with curtains.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 22, 2012
Words:274
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